Wyrd Daze Lvl.4 * : Nicnevin and the Bloody Queen – an interview with Helen Mullane.

Best experienced in the PDF zine

Cover art by Jock

Nicnevin and the Bloody Queen is a contemporary folk horror tale rich in atmosphere and feeling.

“Something strange has been unleashed in the north of England. A modern-day druid commits a series of ghastly murders in an attempt to unleash the awesome power of the ancient gods of Great Britain. But all hell really breaks loose when his latest would-be victim, Nicnevin “NISSY” Oswald, turns out to be more than she seems…”

Wyrd Daze presents a preview of the comic and an interview with the author, Helen Mullane.

WRITER – HELEN MULLANE
ARTIST – DOM REARDON
LAYOUTS ARTIST (PGS 69–123) & TITLE PAGE ILLUSTRATION
MATTHEW DOW SMITH
COVER & PAGE 3 ILLUSTRATION – JOCK
COLOR ARTIST – LEE LOUGHRIDGE
LETTERS – ROBIN JONES
PUBLISHED BY – HUMANOIDS

What drew you to the myths of Nicnevin?

Funnily enough Nicnevin was one of the later elements of the story to fall into place. 

Inspired by Jenny Agutter’s character in I Start Counting, and the more modern Fish Tank I started out with the main character, Nissy. I love this idea of a young girl with a crush, who gets drawn into something beyond her ken because of it but who’s not actually particularly interested in the mystery at hand until it hits too close to home. That felt quite real to me. 

Then I knew I wanted to set the story in a place that had its own myths and legends to draw from, I was obsessed with Alan Garner as a child and the sense of place in his books is something I really wanted to emulate. So I researched ancient myths from all around the UK until I found these hillforts of Northumberland – Yeavering Bell, Eildon Hill and Traprain Law. There are loads of fascinating theories about what they meant to the ancient Votadini tribes who inhabited that area of the borderlands before the Romans came. From there I researched other local legends and discovered that stories of Nicnevin were extremely potent round that region. I’m very interested in goddesses and creatures who were either demonised or beatified by the early Christians and she has wonderful iconography and unusual powers. So then eventually I settled on that myth!

What were the themes you wanted to explore in this story?

Thematically what I am most interested in this story is isolation, romantic obsession and exploring a young girl coming into her own. A lot of the comic is quite kitchen sinky, I wanted to explore this very real and raw family drama as a mother and daughter continuously misunderstand each other, and are having trouble cementing their relationship or showing love. 

The comic has an impressive creative team which includes Dom Reardon, Jock, Matthew Dow Smith and Lee Loughridge – what was it like for you to see your words brought to life by these veteran artists?

It was surreal and beautiful! Jock’s cover is so stunning, he’s truly managed to boil down the essence of the story. 

I originally conceived of this story as a kids TV show in the vein of The Owl Service, and it was Dom who suggested I write it as a comic instead. He also loves folk horror and has wanted to draw something like this for a long time. It was wonderful working with someone who gets my references, and with whom I can shorthand Children of the Stones or Hammer’s The Witches. It’s so inspiring seeing your ideas and words reborn through the prism of Dom’s incredible artistic brain. His work enriches the story at every frame and even in the gutters!

Then the story was so deeply enriched by Matthew’s artistry, Lee’s colours, Robin’s letters and Jock’s astounding cover, each new contribution leaving the book better than they found it.

Nicnevin and the Bloody Queen is being released by the legendary publisher Humanoids as part of their H1 shared universe – can you tell us how you became involved in this project?

Dom and I pitched Nicnevin to Humanoids before H1 had been announced. I had chatted to Alex (Humanoids COO) previously through Pat Mills about something totally unrelated and that happily put us high on the slush pile. Alex read my scripts (I had the whole thing written before we ever pitched) and loved Dom’s spec pages and we took it from there!

Will you be returning to the world of Nicnevin and the Bloody Queen?

I would love to! I guess a lot depends on how this book sells. I have a concept which is already baked into the narrative and seeming ephemera of The Bloody Queen which I’d love the chance to explore. My idea is for a series of generational sequels that move through the maternal line. A book about Nissy’s mum at 15 in 1990, then her own mum at the same age. I’m fascinated by how the experiences and traumas of our parents are passed down through the generations, and how Nissy’s experiences as a black woman especially differ from those that came before her.

To what extent does a sense of place affect your writing?

To a huge extent! Atmosphere and location are the starting point for my writing, especially on a book like this where I am trying to evoke something so specific. Preparing to write this comic I immersed myself in music, TV and movies that had the tone I wanted to convey, when I was doing my day job I was listening to Hacker Farm and other atmospheric music, I spent hours looking at and reading about the places I was setting the story – although in the end I took some artistic license to make the story work.

I love to see locations as characters within the story. In this story the countryside is such an important element. It is slowly encroaching on the characters all the time. The bastle and the country pile that key characters live in are full of detail that can tell the reader a lot about their inhabitants.

In what ways can myth and folklore inform our understanding of the world?

Myth and folklore are our most primal ways of understanding the world. I feel like we understand them on the deepest levels, they express something of our collective id. It’s fascinating how folklore changes and how it stays the same from nation to nation, culture to culture. I’m especially fascinated by the ways in which the Christianisation of the western world involved co-opting, criminalising or demonising the myths and religions of the peoples they converted. 

You spent some time as a film producer and produced the excellent documentary Future Shock! The story of 2000AD alongside Sean Hogan. Can you tell us about some of your experiences while working on the film?

Yes making that film was a wild ride at times! There were too many memorable moments to count but certainly one of the most stellar was our interview with Pat Mills. The 2000AD founder and storytelling legend was unbelievably generous with his time. The uncut interview was almost 9 hours long! He had so many incredible stories and is such a force of nature – we were all totally hero struck! It was during that interview that not only did we all have a rollicking good time, but we knew that we really had something, this was going to be a fascinating film. 

On a personal level I have a couple more standout moments, one was totally bonding with Grant Morrison over a shared love of Alan Garner, Children of the Stones and other classic weird kids horror and fantasy. Then, when the director Paul and I did a roadtrip to interview various legends around the UK, we stayed the night in Jock’s home town and went to the pub (of course). That night I had what turned out to be a fateful conversation with Dom Reardon, in which I outlined my idea for The Bloody Queen and he told me that if I wrote it as a comic instead of a TV series he would draw it.
And the rest, as they say, is history!

What are some of your favourite/most memorable 2000AD stories? 

(for me, as well as the classic Dredd and Slaine stories, I have fond memories of John Smith’s Revere with art by Simon Harrison, Dan Abnet’s Durham Red: Scarlet Cantos with art by Mark Harrison, and Alan Grants Anderson: Psi Division – Childhood’s End in Judge Dredd Megazine with art by Kev Walker being a particular highlight). 

My absolute favourite 2000AD story is probably The Ballad of Halo Jones, the story touches me deeply and it is a tragedy that it will never be finished. Like you, I also love both Grant and Wagner’s work on various Judge Anderson Psi: Division stories. I’m drawn to stories with female protagonists. Whether they are just living their lives, or trying to comes to terms with trauma, I like to see women’s journeys in sci-fi spaces.

Other favourites are Slaine (of course, so relevant to my interests!), the ultimate Judge Dredd story, America and Nemesis.  

I understand that you’re working on your next comic – what is it about and when can we expect it?

I’m pitching out a few stories and the moment, hoping one sticks – I guess that’s the name of the game this early in my comic writing career! I am particularly passionate about an acid-drenched erotic adventure story inspired by Manson, Filmore Posters and The Moody Blues, and a pro-choice bit of southern gothic horror steeped in old school Catholic Mary worship. Both stories are pretty wild and I’m really hoping someone bites! 

Are there any current comics that you are particularly enjoying?

Oh hell yeah. We are living through a comics golden age right now, there is so much interesting work out there! Recent favourites include Infidel, The Savage Shores, Pretty Deadly, Friendo, Auteur and My Favourite Thing is Monsters. Some of the many current monthlies I’m loving are Snotgirl, Black Stars Above and Gideon Falls

Even in the superhero space – a former obsession of mine that I have totally fallen off in recent years, there’s some fascinating work out there. The Martian Manhunter series has been a wonderfully weird and rewarding read, The Vision had such deep pathos, Mister Miracle really pushed the limits of what a superhero comic can be and Ms. Marvel has been quite remarkable for years now. 

You currently live in Sweden, training and racing sled dogs with one of Europe’s top mushers Petter Karlsson and his wife Angela. How did you come to embark upon this adventure, and what is it like? 

Bizarre though it sounds this is an adventure I kind of fell into. After Futureshock completed, I had a series of things all come together at once that were very exciting but that ultimately left me totally drained. I felt like I needed a bit of a sabbatical before I could move on to the next thing. A year earlier my friend and I had gone on holiday to Norway and had tried dog sledding. I remembered it being just the most fun. So on a total whim I emailed the company I’d toured with if they needed any workers for the remainder of the winter, I had an idea that to toil in the earth was the thing that would bring me back to myself, and to my surprise they said yes! So 2 hours later I got the job offer and 2 weeks later I was in Tromso!

I had no intention of making a career of dog sledding, it was just supposed to be a little adventure to bring the excitement into my life again and shake off the cobwebs. But I soon discovered that I really thrive through physical labour, it’s so good for my spirit and my mind. I love the peace and tranquillity, as well as the toughness of the work. So 3 months turned into 10, then another season and another. Once I discovered the world of competitive dog mushing it was game over! In 2016 I moved to Sweden to work for Petter Karlsson and things really started to get serious. Now I am deeply invested in the world of long distance and my dream is to get to a place where I can have my own competitive team and write comics in a little cabin in the woods and that’s it, I’m done.

You completed the Femundlöpet 400km in 2018 and the 650km in 2019… did you compete this year as well?

That 650 was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. The physical exertion, the sleeplessness… it was savage. But at the same time it was beautiful. Watching the sun rise over the mountains, miles from anyone when you’ve just been teetering on the edge of exhaustion is the type of transcendent experience that lifts the soul. And the dogs! The mutual respect, pride and closeness you share with your team at the end of a race like that truly brings a tear to the eye. That race was recorded by RTE radio for their Documentary on One show, and will hopefully be released in the next couple of months – people can check my twitter if they’re interested in listening when it comes out. 

This year I might compete in the Beaver Trap Trail in Sweden in March. A relatively short 250km race. I didn’t want to take on a truly long race with NTBQ coming out in the middle of the season because a race like that really takes over your life. 

Is there anything else on the horizon you’d like to tell us about?

Not really! At the moment I’m trying to do whatever I can to make The Bloody Queen a success, and am working hard to get the next thing underway. I’m working on a short film with a good friend of mine, which I am super excited about but can’t really say any more about just now.


Helen Mullane began her career in film distribution, managing the release of major films for the likes of Studio Canal and EOne. Later she produced the feature documentary FUTURESHOCK! THE STORY OF 2000AD and various shorts such as the multi-award-winning NASTY. Helen currently resides in northern Sweden where she lives with 80 huskies, balancing her time between writing and dog mushing. In NICNEVIN AND THE BLOODY QUEEN, Mullane, acclaimed artists Dom Reardon and Matthew Dow Smith, and celebrated colorist Lee Loughridge have created a haunting and unsettling coming-of-age horror story for our times. 

Helen on Twitter

Humanoids: more info / purchase Nicnevin and the Bloody Queen

Wyrd Daze Five : ReVerse Butcher

Wyrd Daze Five is live!
Best experienced with the PDF zine
which you can access here.

ReVerse Butcher

Pair of Portraits (1/2) – Self Portrait (2017)
Ink, acrylic, gold leaf. 
Pair of Portraits (2/2) – Kylie Supski (2017)
Ink, acrylic, gold leaf. 

ReVerse Butcher is a multi-disciplinary artist with focuses in making unique artist’s books, collages, visual art, writing & performance. She will use any medium necessary to engage and subvert reality until it is less dull and oppressive. When she grows up she wants to be a well-read recluse. She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia.

ReVerse Butcher performing at COLLAGE live event 27/01/2019
photography by Kylie Supski 
ReVerse Butcher performing at COLLAGE live event 27/01/2019
photography by Kylie Supski 

“Here is a timelapse (2019) of ‘Songdom of God’. Used as live projections for COLLAGE (our live multimedia collage group). Made from cut up parts of the bible:”

“The Revenge” (appears in “Somewhere Dismembering”, Artists Book 2012.
Analogue collage, cut-up & erasure poetry)

When did poetry first find you and what was your reaction?

Poetry found me in my teens. It found me via music, theatre, and public libraries.
I had an early love for it.

Collaborative collage between ReVerse Butcher & Kylie Supski (2018)
“Black (W)hole Swallow”. Digital Collage, illustration, photography, calligram. 
   

When did you first begin expressing yourself with poetry
and how did it affect your life?

I started writing in my teens, which lead to attending local poetry readings. The way it most affected my life was finding a network of new things to read, listen to, go seek out.
It also put me in a strange position where the majority of my social group were, at minimum, 10 years older than me. I had clocked poetry as an excellent medium for disruption, because it was, at that time, largely unmediated. It seemed like the closest thing I could find to one of Hakim Bey’s “Temporary Autonomous Zones”. Nobody was watching, which meant anything could happen. So it also affected my early life in that it gave me a great playground to start experimenting & creating weird art.

I read in a previous interview that you used to sneak into open mic poetry nights at bars before you were of legal age. Can you tell us about some of your experiences around that time?

I started going to poetry readings when I was 17, so just before my 18th birthday. Some of them were in bars in afternoon sessions, a few in cafes later at night. I lived in a slightly isolated place at that time – so getting to and from some of these events was harder than gaining access! I wasn’t interested at all in drinking, so – as long as I didn’t approach the bar, or drink anything, I didn’t run into any trouble, and didn’t cause anyone any trouble.
I just wanted to listen, and perform.

“Here is the bandcamp for my spoken word/noise project,
called 
“Slow Process” (2014)”

“Our Lady of the Visionary Way” (2018)
 Analogue Collage, illustration, ink, acrylic, gold leaf.

Then you embarked upon your first international tour when you were 25 –
what was that like?

I wrote extensive journals during that period of my life. I have since burned the journals.
It was a thrilling & very isolating period of time. I learned a lot about misogyny first hand. But, as to specifics… what happens on the road, stays on the road. 

You work in a variety of mediums and enjoy collaboration:
what is it that drives you toward experimentation in this way?


Language is magical, it builds every aspect of our identities, world(s), control systems, relationships, power(s), as well as all the ways that we qualify and quantify how we know anything. Writing is slippery, it’s not native or static to any one form(at). My goal in my creative life is to break language. I want to see what happens to power, and consciousness, and the status quo when we shatter language.  What would different methodologies for building literally everything look like? What could we achieve, or feel, or learn, or share if we had access to something like that? This is why I will use any medium necessary to subvert reality until it is less dull and oppressive.

If you could collaborate with any person, living or dead, who would it be, why, and what would you do?

Your heroes will disappoint you every time. It’s a rule in life. Don’t have heroes, follow the lines of inquiry. But I’m collaborating with some pretty dreamboat people right about now! My partner in art and life Kylie Supski is my #1 favourite collaborator (so aren’t I lucky?). I’ve also got a pretty great line-up of regular collaborators at the moment, including Josh Pollock, Chris Wenn, COLLAGE (a multimedia group in Melbourne feat. Roger Alsop, Yoram Symons, Sophie Rose & others). I’m working on a collaborative accordion style artist’s book with James Knight at the moment called Discordion. Basically, if we are both on a similar line of inquiry (or ones that intersect in an interesting way), you are quite possibly that person. Get in touch.

“Bacterial Girl”, 2018. Digital Collage.

How would you describe your art?

A multi-modal, highly-focused, very-meticulous, total mess.

How would you describe your process?

An attempt to silence a barrel full of bees, 
drunk, with a hammer, under water

How would you describe yourself? 

What,today? Or yesterday? Future-ReV? Alternate reality ReV? ReV as she is to me?
To Her? Or to you? Different every time.

Would you say you are more structured or free-form in your creative process?

I create complex structure(s) to provide adequate containers for free-formed work.

Do you like your creative space cluttered or tidy? Do you work with quiet or music?

I like it organised. I don’t know if my definition matches either ‘cluttered’ or ‘tidy’.
It depends on the project, or what I need to make it. My computer files are meticulous, but I superglued my fingers to a desk last week, and I currently can’t get paint out of my purple wig. Make sense? Music always.

How would you describe your relationship with words, with language?

Symbiotic.

How would you describe your relationship with sound, with music?

Nebulous. What even qualifies as music? Is it a language too? Can I disrupt it? Can I paint it? Does it want me to? Yes.

How would you describe your relationship with image, with art?

Bold. Exciting. A brave & irreverent new voice raging against a culture of vapid mass-production. Multi-layered.

Is there a spiritual or mystical yearning in your work?

Yes

“The Whole Cut Up Woman”, 2018. Digital Collage.
Collaborative album “Osmosis” (2019)
Graphic score by ReVerse Butcher
Music interpreted, played and recorded by Josh Pollock.
(Listen)

To what extent does a sense of place affect your creativity?

I’ve learned that my best art is done in a place where I feel safe. That being said, I don’t really leave my house unless there is a very compelling reason.

Collaborative album “The Garbage Fire vs. The Fainting Couch” (2017)
 Graphic score by ReVerse Butcher. Music interpreted, played and recorded by Josh Pollock.
(It doesn’t have a ‘right way up’ – it can intentionally
be played/interpreted from any angle/direction)
(Listen)

Is there any specific connection or thread that runs between your works?

Disruption. Experimentation. A sense of playfulness. A sense of rebellion.
An invitation to join in or start your own.
I hope, a sense of joy. If not a sense of joy,
at least a touch of tough love.

Front Cover of “Wild Tongue Vol 2.” (2018)
Hand-painted artists book,
text a collage of lines from content from the zine.
Available from (Wild Tongue Zine)
 

How would you describe the art scene and culture in Melbourne to someone who has never been there?

Please don’t make me.
I have to live here right now.

I understand you’re working on a multimedia project called
“The Illuminated Manuscripts?”


Yes. It’s a giant spatial poem. Think an illuminated manuscript gone feral in Virtual Reality backed by a badass rock band. Think burning books that never ash. Think living bookworlds that are 40 feet above you, and 40 feet below you and you’re floating in space. Think a writhing glitterpoem the size of a football field. Live and recorded poets doing original works, breaking language, re-contextualising meaning, unwriting books, and remixing & collaging texts.

I’m starting to livestream the creative process of making all this on Twitch from
March 2019 (https://www.twitch.tv/reversebutcher).
Tune in if you’re into it.

“The 5th C” is a videopoem published 28th January at Burning House Press

 A timelapse of ‘A Visionary Outraged’ (2018), an erasure/collage poem

“Here is a v-log of me talking about altered books
(my own and that of Christine Strelan, Nimbin-based artist) in 2014.”

“Here is a track that I did guest vocals with band
“Third Sky”, called “Meow Inhibitor” (2011)”

Video of live performance from the 
“On The Rod, An Artists Book” launch in Nov 2018

pp. 20-21 from “On The Rod, An Artists Book” (2018)
Portrait of Circus the Interdimensional Prince(ss). 
pp. 116-117 from “On The Rod, An Artists Book” (2018)
Analogue collage, erasure & cut-up poem, ink, coloured pencil, acrylic, glue.
 
pp. 174-175 from “On The Rod, An Artists Book” (2018)
Portrait of Australian feminist poet, Liz Hall-Downs.

Illustration, ink, paper, glue, acrylic.   
pp. 206-207 from “On The Rod, An Artists Book” (2018)
Portrait of Kerry Loughrey. Ink, paper, glue, acrylic. 
 

What else are you working on in the moment?

1. An experimental multimedia production of John Cage’s “Lecture on Nothing“. 

2. COLLAGE happens LAST SUNDAY of the month at The Burrow in
Melbourne, until at least March.

3. An ongoing performance poetry/experimental music project with Chris Wenn.

4. ‘Pinhole Theory’, a collaborative collage chapbook with Kylie Supski.

5. ‘Mad Boy’ is my next solo long-form collage book, which scissors up
Gustav Flaubert’s  ‘Madame Bovary’
& Louise Colet’s ‘Lui: View of Him’.
Poets have been talking shit about each other since time began, but these two stand in for a very formidable oppressive patriarchal dynamic I’d like to attend to.

6. I’m working on live-streaming more of both the making and the performance of my analogue and digital art adventures so that I can engage with a diverse & international range of creative communities.

You’ll be able to see & support developments on ALL of these projects online.

Come check me out here: (https://www.twitch.tv/reversebutcher)

or come find me on twitter www.twitter.com/x_rVb_x

ReVerseButcher.com

Radio Free Hookland: Mojo’s Graveyard Shift – broadcast 23rd November 1972

Hookland liner notes pic

Hookland photography by David Southwell

These liner notes for Radio Free Hookland: Mojo’s Graveyard Shift 23rd November 1972 are best experienced in their PDF version, which you can access here.

The Hookland Guide on Twitter, by David Southwell

    *   *   *

In June 1966, Reginald Calvert, manager of The Fortunes, Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours, Screaming Lord Sutch, and owner of pirate radio station Radio City, agreed to go into partnership with another pirate station, Radio Free Hookland. When Oliver Smedley, owner of Radio Atlanta, telephoned Calvert to tell him of some interest in a partnership deal, Calvert explained he was entering into a partnership with Radio Free Hookland instead. Smedley shouted abuse down the telephone and decided to take over Radio City with a boarding party in the middle of the night, on the pretext that Calvert owed him £10,000 for an old, useless and broken transmitter from Texas. Smedley’s hired a group of riggers, who boarded Radio City on 20th June and put the station’s working transmitter out of action. News from Radio City was that the boarders were armed and would destroy all the equipment if Calvert or anyone else tried to evict them. Calvert went to the police to ask for their support, but they refused as it was “outside their legal jurisdiction”. They suggested he should sort it out with Smedley. Calvert tried repeatedly to do so but Smedley was never available. After some advice from Radio Free Hookland DJ Morris “Mojo” Johnson, Calvert decided to “let it go,” and before long Smedley ran out of money to keep the riggers on and they left, leaving Radio City largely intact.

Radio City and Radio Free Hookland continued to thrive up to and beyond the BBC’s legalisation of independent radio in 1973, finally falling foul to Margaret Thatcher in 1979 (which was but the tip of the Titanic for Hookland).

DLpLJV9X0AsSTov

Hookland photography by David Southwell

Hookland hook

For David, with much love and appreciation from the people of Hookland.

Radio Free Hookland:

Mojo’s Graveyard Shift – broadcast Thursday 23rd November 1972

Listen

Download

DNOB-7aWkAAJTNe

Hookland photography by David Southwell

Original Content Tracklist

1.  Mojo The Ephemeral Man

2.  10:04 – 13:18   Sister ChristinaJulianne Regan

3.  14:08 – 14:40   Lost Soul Inn (advert) – Chris Wood

4.  14:41 – 14:43   You’re Listening to Hookland Free Radio identDale Whinham

5.  24:59 – 25:59   Hail to the Queen of OwlsMaria Strutz + The Ephemeral Man

6.  28:25 – 38:30   Pavel Mikoyan – Luke Bradshaw and the Pavel Mikoyan Survivors Group

7.  39:45 – 42:18   The Consecration of the Boy BishopGordon Stranger

8.  50:42 – 52:15   Spitstone Bakery: Mysterious Eats (advert) – Gill Finlayson + Amy Shaw

9.  52:16 – 52:22   Radio Free Hookland identAmy Shaw + Dale Whinham

10.  52:27 – 56:44   WiddershinsHawthonn

11.  1:00:03 – 1:02:34   The NewsChris Wood (words) Amy Shaw (music)

12.  1:02:47 – 1:02:59   Mojo’s Graveyard Shift identAmy Shaw + Dale Whinham

13.  1:09:49 – 1:17:27   “Seen anything strange lately?” with Cunning Sid Rosehip Ian “Cat” Vincent + The Ephemeral Man

14.  1:20:22 – 1:21:11   Hookland Building and Renovations (advert) Chris Wood

15.  1:21:12 – 1:22:59   Spitstone Bakery: Gift Vouchers (advert) – Gill Finlayson + Amy Shaw

16.  1:23:06 – 1:33:17   There’s AngelsKay Orchison

17.  1:38:56 – 1:39:28   Hookland County Police, Wiretapping Records, Starfall Common 15th December 1980Marco Visconti

18.  1:39:29 – 1:42:48   Hookland Children’s Radio RJ Barker + The Ephemeral Man

19.  1:42:49 – 1:42:54   Hookland Free Radio ident Amy Shaw + Dale Whinham

20.  1:45:14 – 1:45:17   Oh Mojo ident Amy Shaw + Dale Whinham

21.  1:48:15 – 1:50:37   Spitstone Bakery: Purple Haze (advert) Gill Finlayson + Amy Shaw

22.  1:56:18 – 2:00:23   Country Song (for David)William Wright

23.  2:00:24 – 2:01:45   Radio Fade – Sardonicus + The Ephemeral Man

Conceived and concocted by The Ephemeral Man

Sister Christina  by  Julianne Regan

The piece, ‘Sister Christina’, was composed and authored in the cold, small hours of December 16th 2018, as a tribute to Hookland’s David Southwell. My hope is that it embodies something of the spirit of the place, and naturally, that Mr Southwell might take some pleasure in this. It is best listened to on headphones, for that new-fangled stereo effect that is, apparently, ‘all the rage’.

Sister Christina edit

Sister Christina image by Julianne Regan

Sister Christina

Let me tell you of a place
Where Edwardian souls take solace in uncertainty
Let me guide you, clammy-handed, to the 24-hour library
A late night meander under mist-dimmed moon and humming streetlights 

Then through the carless car-park
Where the three headless horses of Hookland
Stand staring at nothing, most certainly something
Manes lifted and teased by zephyrous breezes 

Now enter the brutalist porch
Go from hall to chamber to gallery
While the scent of antiquity, subtle and slow,
Seeps from the heavy velvet of sun-faded curtains  

Let the dust on the jackets of ancient books
Inspire asthmatic episodes lungs will worship
Let’s find papery moth wings flat between yellowing pages
Alongside bus ticket bookmarks
The number 3 to Gallowscroft, the 5 across to Corvid Green
The last journeys taken by Sister Christina. 

She was found in the fiction section
Her blood-smeared left hand clutching Kafka
In spirit, she resides in this place, a diurnal presence.
She blooms in the early evening, and fades at dawn

The seance revealed that she feeds ghost breadcrumbs to the library’s tail-less mice – those reminders of nuclear folly that hasten over parquet floors, in blind chemiluminescence. 

© Julianne Regan, 2018

Mikoyan

Screaming cosmonaut found & photographed by Chris Wood

Pavel Mikoyan

Luke Bradshaw and the Pavel Mikoyan Survivors Group

According to the Hookland Zodiac, 2019 is the year of the Moon. Traditionally this signals a year-long heightening of the psychic senses throughout the County, which brings about physical or psychological transformation. This heightening of the psychic senses usually manifests its self in a number of ways, but it’s generally seen as a period of reflection on the past, of communicating with the ancestors, which gives foresight and a clearer vision of how to approach the future.

It may be thought of as a coincidence that the first children to succumb to the “Pavel Mikoyan is screaming on the Moon” outbreak of May 1969 were all 10 year olds who were born in the previous Year of the Moon in 1959, but this is Hookland. There are no coincidences.

The children affected across the county have a special bond with the Moon, they have all been susceptible to visions or dreams of the lunar surface and have at times been taken over by its emanations. Even as adults they continue to live under the mental shadow of a distressed Russian they believe to be its only ever permanent resident. They still gather frequently to compare notes on any strange dreams or visions they might have had, with some groups working to reconnect with the psychic lunar form of the ‘lost’ Russian Cosmonaut Pavel Mikoyan.

With the oncoming year of the Moon also the 50th anniversary of the Pavel Mikoyan outbreak, there is expected to be a larger than normal focus on the events of 1969, with events and commemorations planned by the survivor groups to raise awareness of the outbreak to try to finally get some answers.

Luke Bradshaw

(Year 6, St Ellen of the Ways Primary, Great Tarling, 1969)

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Hookland photography by David Southwell

The Consecration of the Boy BishopGordon Stranger

While the boundaries between the establishment and the counter culture were somewhat blurred in Hookland around the time of Null’s modest popularity, it was no little surprise when Gordon Stranger was appointed composer laureate to the bishopric of Weychester. His lack of productivity meant his time in the post was short, and much of the material he did produce is characteristically lost, but this piece was discovered on a cassette amongst the Stranger family Christmas decorations and we are grateful to Gordons son, Gary, for sharing it.

WiddershinsHawthonn

Produced & performed by Layla & Phil Legard – Spectral hurdy-gurdy by Rory Scammell Mastered by Gregg Janman (Hermetech Mastering)

“Everything is a time machine.”

We’ve wanted to record something based on the story ‘Widdershins’ by our friend Julie Travis for some time. The tale, criss-crossing temporal and metaphysical realms, begins with the observation of a girl – the elderly narrator’s younger self – walking widdershins around a rural church, and opening the way for the Bosch-like hurdy-gurdy-playing demon Madame Gargoyle, who is described as “proof of the wrongness of the area where the church stood”. The Hooklandish resonances in Julie’s tale are many, and so we took

ourselves to our own ancient church, walking widdershins around it, and recording our own plaintive time-machine dirge. One route to the church takes walkers along the path of the old corpse road, which scythes through a field now owned by property developers and hemmed in by mesh security fences on each side, keeping unruly spirits – both living and dead – to the path. The sound of these fences being rattled and agitated in protest as part of an impromptu ritual conducted while walking the corpse road concludes each of the three sections of the music.

Hookland County Police, Wiretapping Records,Starfall Common 15th December 1980 Marco Visconti

Here is a rare record of a police wiretapping at Starfall Common, 15 December 1980. Only a short fragment survived, and the quality is, as you can imagine from the time period, quite abysmal. It does give however a little glimpse on what the Pylon People (in this case, two very young recruits of the cult in fact) thought about the Hum. A certain “Dee-Dee” is mentioned, likely the cult leader.

Sidney Aaron Rosehip (1930 – 2016)
– Ian “Cat” Vincent

Regarded by some as the last deep woods cunning-man of the ancient Rosehip line, Sid was a sardonic and irascible figure, often seen on the roads and in the pubs around Marshwood and Hook, occasionally but briefly on Ashcourt docks in the company of his ne’er-do-well brother Alfred (a dockhand, enthusiastic participant of the Free Trade and father of ‘Cunning Jack’ Rosehip, current member of the Walking Nine).

Something of an athlete in his youth (a champion Hodger – the almost-lost Hookland fighting-stick martial art – at several May Fair tourneys), Sid went to the woods in the early Fifties, but could, as all cunning can, be found just when you needed him the most. It was via reporter Jerry Bishop’s friendship with the family of Sid’s sister-in-law, Diana Stranger Rosehip, that the recording herein was arranged.

Rumours of Sid’s long standing but discreet love affair with a Hook fisherman, tragically taken by the King-Under-The-Sea a decade following the ’72 broadcast, were widely known but never mentioned to his face. It is known that he was rarely seen in public from then on.

Sid’s death in 2016 was mourned by few; however, the rumoured desecration of his grave and the alleged disappearance of his bones – followed by whispers of a terrible battle between Cunning Jack and an unnamed member of the Chumbley clan over Sid’s remains, of which Jack was the sole survivor – have become another chapter in the ongoing history of the Rosehip cunning clan.

Roll Call (in order of appearance)

The Ephemeral Man :  Twitter  Mixcloud  Bandcamp

Julianne Regan : Twitter  Website

Chris Wood : Twitter

Dale Whinham : Twitter

Maria Strutz : Twitter  Website

Luke Bradshaw and the Pavel Mikoyan Survivors Group  :  Twitter

Gordon Stranger :  Twitter  Bandcamp

Gill Finlayson  :  Twitter

Amy Shaw  :  Twitter  Soundcloud

Hawthonn :  Twitter  Bandcamp

Ian “Cat” Vincent :  Twitter  Newsletter

Kay Orchison :  Twitter

Marco Visconti :  Twitter  Website

RJ Barker :  Twitter  Website

William Wright :  Twitter  Website 

Sardonicus  :  Twitter  Website

If any of the contributors would like anything added to these liner notes,

please contact Leigh at wyrd.daze@gmail.com